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Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactors
Nuclear Engineering Division at Argonne
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Abstracts and Available Papers Presented at the
2005 International RERTR Meeting

Facts and Myths Concerning 99Mo Production with HEU and LEU Targets

George F. Vandegrift
Chemical Engineering Division
Argonne National Laboratory
Argonne, Illinois, USA

ABSTRACT

Currently, most of the world's supply of 99Mo is produced from the fissioning of 235U in targets of high-enriched uranium (HEU). Conversion of these targets to low-enriched uranium (LEU) would ease worldwide concern over the use and transport of this weapons-grade material. The four major producers (MDS Nordion, Mallinckrodt, IRE, and NTP) have not converted to LEU; they have stated that they have concerns over the economic penalties that may be associated with conversion to demonstrated LEU technologies. They have also stated concerns over the potential purity of the Mo-99 produced from LEU. This paper discusses (1) the main concerns that potential suppliers may have regarding the conversion of existing facilities for Mo-99 production to use of LEU and (2) the technical and, to a limited extent, economic bases associated with conversion to LEU. These discussions attempt to separate the facts from the myths.


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Last modified on July 29, 2008 11:34 +0200